Lots of stuff today!!! It’s a long one, so I will just say, “enjoy” and tune in tomorrow where I will provide the daily Lenten Mediation and our weekly Cycle of Prayer!
VIRTUAL EVENT TONIGHT: STATIONS OF THE CROSS AT ST. EDWARD’S 6:30 pm
There will be a Live stream on the Way of the Cross (Stations of the Cross) on Friday, March 27 and Friday, April 3 at 6:30 pm . Please join us on Dina Ishler’s Facebook page or via Zoom as we take the journey of Jesus to the cross. All are so very welcome to join in and when we can’t be together physically we can use this gift of technology to pray with and for each other. For those who are not connected with Facebook and will use Zoom, use the following link:
Please click this link to view an important video message from Bishop Scanlan:
St. Edward’s Bible Study Update:
This past Wednesday evening we were able to hold our Bible Study over Zoom, and after a few bumps we were able to get it working satisfactorily. With that success, we would like to ensure that anyone who might be thinking about joining the group has the opportunity to do so. Would you please add this information to your daily publication to the church members, letting people know that if they would like to join us, we will continue to meet each Wednesday evening at 6:30. They will need to contact Bill (email@example.com) or Yvonne (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we will send instructions to join us on Zoom. Each week we will send the I.D. number for that week’s session to those who indicate their interest in joining the meeting.
A Personal Note from Mike & Sandy Patrone:
None of us have ever been thru this time in our lives and hopefully won’t again.
Here at St. Anne’s we went from having so much to do and sometimes complaining to now no activities at all so like all of you we are improvising. Reading, walking, watching movies, praying and whatever else comes to mind. We have been to the grocery store and plan to stay in place till at least Tuesday. A miracle happened yesterday, there on the grocery shelf were two rolls of toilet paper sitting by themselves and I thought I heard them say “take me home with you” so we did. Last Sunday we watched the service streamed by St. James here in Lancaster. Next week on a day to be determined, all of us on the first floor, east wing are going to sit outside our doors and talk to one another. Just another improvised activity we thought up.
Stay safe everyone.
– Mike & Sandy Patrone
LENTEN MEDITATION, FRIDAY MARCH 27, 2020
Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.
– Philippians 2:4
The youth community at my parish came up with a saying years ago: No one sits alone. It’s become a mantra that informs everything we do. It has made sitting down for a meal an act of worship. It means high school seniors join the new sixth grader sitting alone at a table and begin conversation. It means that no matter what happened during rest of the day, when you show up at church you are going to be seen. This mantra means that everyone is tasked with focusing on others.
When Jesus calls his disciples, he asks them to leave the comfort of the lives they knew for something more. When a teenager leaves the comfort of their friend group to invite another in or go join them where they are, it is that same discipleship. It is following Christ. I think sometimes we make this following Jesus thing more complicated than it needs to be. Sit with someone who is alone. Include. Open the circle. Make room. Small acts of love can radically change the life of someone else.
– Emily Rutledge is the Children, Youth and Family Minister at Church of Our Saviour in Charlottesville, Virginia, and a mother of two.
ONLINE WORSHIP RESOURCES:
As we worship, in our own ways this Sunday, remember there are many links with Sunday services, near and far. Here are a few:
St. James, Lancaster Livestream: https://www.saintjameslancaster.org/worship-care/livestream/
St. Thomas NYC 11:00 AM: https://www.saintthomaschurch.org/events/litany-in-procession-choral-eucharist/
Trinity Church: NYC 11:15 AM service online: https://www.trinitywallstreet.org/events/day?day=2020-03-29&month=2020-03
STEWARDSHIP & GIVING
Also, please remember your stewardship and giving to St. Edward’s. Our parish community is so grateful for your continued support in these times when we are apart! Also, please do not forget to prayerfully consider a donation in ANY AMOUNT to our local Hempfield Food Pantry. Make your donation payable to St. Edward’s and write “Food Pantry” in memo line. They need our help! Thank you!
You can mail your giving to the church as we are picking up mail each day. You can set up giving through online banking, and you can donate through the diocesan website, scrolling down to St. Edward’s for your weekly pledge/giving: https://givingtools.com/give/1178/1987
Readings For Sunday, March 29th – Fifth Sunday in Lent Year A 2020
Almighty God, you alone can bring into order the unruly wills and affections of sinners: Grant your people grace to love what you command and desire what you promise; that, among the swift and varied changes of the world, our hearts may surely there be fixed where true joys are to be found; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Old Testament – Ezekiel 37:1-14
The hand of the LORD came upon me, and he brought me out by the spirit of the LORD and set me down in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me all around them; there were very many lying in the valley, and they were very dry. He said to me, “Mortal, can these bones live?” I answered, “O Lord GOD, you know.” Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. I will lay sinews on you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live; and you shall know that I am the LORD.”
So I prophesied as I had been commanded; and as I prophesied, suddenly there was a noise, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. I looked, and there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them; but there was no breath in them. Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, mortal, and say to the breath: Thus says the Lord GOD: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.” I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood on their feet, a vast multitude.
Then he said to me, “Mortal, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are cut off completely.’ Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord GOD: I am going to open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people; and I will bring you back to the land of Israel. And you shall know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people. I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you on your own soil; then you shall know that I, the LORD, have spoken and will act,” says the LORD.
The Response – Psalm 130
1 Out of the depths have I called to you, O LORD;
LORD, hear my voice; *
let your ears consider well the voice of my supplication.
2 If you, LORD, were to note what is done amiss, *
O Lord, who could stand?
3 For there is forgiveness with you; *
therefore you shall be feared.
4 I wait for the LORD; my soul waits for him; *
in his word is my hope.
5 My soul waits for the LORD,
more than watchmen for the morning, *
more than watchmen for the morning.
6 O Israel, wait for the LORD, *
for with the LORD there is mercy;
7 With him there is plenteous redemption, *
and he shall redeem Israel from all their sins.
The Epistle – Romans 8:6-11
To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law– indeed it cannot, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you.
The Gospel – John 11:1-45
Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. Mary was the one who anointed the Lord with perfume and wiped his feet with her hair; her brother Lazarus was ill. So the sisters sent a message to Jesus, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” But when Jesus heard it, he said, “This illness does not lead to death; rather it is for God’s glory, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” Accordingly, though Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, after having heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.
Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now trying to stone you, and are you going there again?” Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Those who walk during the day do not stumble, because they see the light of this world. But those who walk at night stumble, because the light is not in them.” After saying this, he told them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I am going there to awaken him.” The disciples said to him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will be all right.” Jesus, however, had been speaking about his death, but they thought that he was referring merely to sleep. Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead. For your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” Thomas, who was called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”
When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, some two miles away, and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them about their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary stayed at home. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world.”
When she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary, and told her privately, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.” And when she heard it, she got up quickly and went to him. Now Jesus had not yet come to the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. The Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary get up quickly and go out. They followed her because they thought that she was going to the tomb to weep there. When Mary came where Jesus was and saw him, she knelt at his feet and said to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved. He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus began to weep. So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”
Then Jesus, again greatly disturbed, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, already there is a stench because he has been dead four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. And Jesus looked upward and said, “Father, I thank you for having heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I have said this for the sake of the crowd standing here, so that they may believe that you sent me.” When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”
Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him.
Optional parts of the readings are set off in square brackets.
The Bible texts of the Old Testament, Epistle and Gospel lessons are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Church of Christ in the USA, and used by permission.
The Collects, Psalms and Canticles are from the Book of Common Prayer, 1979.
From The Lectionary Page: http://lectionarypage.net
Sermon: Lent 5A 2020 The Reverend David Bateman
Jesus had friends. We don’t tend to think of him that way, do we? Disciples, sure, and followers, sure. But friends? The kind where you go to their house, sit down and have dinner, and just enjoy their company? That’s not usually the way we think of Jesus.
But these two sisters and a brother are described by the Gospel writer not only as friends of Jesus, but as people whom Jesus “loves”. This isn’t merely the wonderful divine regard with which Jesus sees everyone he meets. There is a special closeness here, a bond of personal affection between these siblings and Jesus that we otherwise don’t get to see in the Gospels.
So it’s all the more surprising to us, then, when Jesus, after hearing that Lazarus whom he loves is ill, delays in going to see him. He offer the disciples a rather unclear explanation using “sleeping” and “waking” as figures of speech, but when he is finally blunt in saying “Lazarus is dead”, we are just as confused as before.
The journey to Bethany is very risky now, as Jesus and his disciples know that resistance to his ministry is by the authorities has become so intense that his life is in danger. Jesus’ arrival is described in clear detail, with Lazarus dead in a tomb and mourners gathered outside and inside the house. One sister, Mary, comes out to meet Jesus before he even makes it to the house. What she says to him is a remarkable statement of faith: “Lord, if you had been here my brother would not have died.” But we should realize that it is also an accusation that Jesus could have prevented this tragedy but did not. After that is a wonderful exchange between the two in which Mary is able to make very strong statements about Jesus and the resurrection to eternal life. But notice that Mary is always speaking about a faraway future. She doesn’t seem to be able to believe that anything can be done now.
It is time for the other sister, Mary, to enter the picture. It seemingly takes a personal invitation from Jesus to rouse Mary from her grief and get her to come outside. When she gets to Jesus, she says the same faithful but accusing words her sister did. The emotional intensity of the scene grows as Mary falls at Jesus’ feet and all are surrounded by weeping mourners. Jesus finally succumbs to the shear sadness of it all and surprises us by weeping himself. It is not something we have seen Jesus do before, and it speaks not only to the tragedy of the situation but also to the intimate closeness he feels to each of these siblings. Jesus himself is grieving.
The picture is so powerful that sometimes we ourselves must wipe away a tear of our own. Then the mourners react in the same way that we would; they are impressed by Jesus’ love for Lazarus, but they wonder why he seemed unable to prevent it.
The climax is even more dramatic than what has come before. Jesus is described as still being “greatly disturbed”. He shocks everyone by ordering the opening of the tomb, and Martha warns about the raw reality of human decomposition. But Jesus prays and then, shouting, literally orders Lazarus to come out. No one present was prepared for that shout, nor for the dread appearance of Lazarus, still in his grave wrappings. If any of us had been there, we would have been equally stunned.
When Jesus says “Unbind him and let him go”, we realize that he is talking not just of the practical need to assist Lazarus, but also of the reality of resurrection, which is indeed to unbind us from the power of death and to make us more free to live than we had ever imagined. Jesus wept for his friend but also for the terrible toll that death takes upon all of us. And when he shouts his command, he is mocking, undermining and undoing that terrible power and overcoming it, beating it, and breaking it. This is the last thing Jesus does in the Gospel of John before he enters Jerusalem to face the fate of Lazarus for himself.